Phew – Vertigo KO

Vinyl (LP + 20 page zine)
Disciples [DISC7]

Japanese underground heroine, and world renowned cult-figure Phew, comes forward once more via the good crowd at Disciples with Vertigo KO –
a culmination of unreleased material from the Light Sleep and Voice Hardcore sessions (if you know, you know!) –

“This album is an unconscious sound sketch. It was recorded in Japan from 2017 to 2019, a closed and obstructive time. It is not a presentation of a worldview, but a personal documentary music of the late 2010s. The hidden message of this album is: What a terrible world we live in, but let’s survive.” – Phew

This quote from Phew herself paints the right kind of picture, we’d say.
Not just in terms of the sound of these recordings, which can range from bittersweet, to alluringly nightmarish drones and skeletal rhythm passages, through to past-midnight homezone vocal loops that will make the outside world fade into nothing momentarily, whilst you fall into her black-hole-soundworld of curiosity…
But also, to us, the fact that she doesn’t try to over-explain her music or attach any grandiose, over-intellectualised concepts, points dearly towards the honesty of her music, especially these solo pieces here, which often feel totally improvised, full of raw emotion (wether in a reserved, almost ‘shy’ kind of stripped back, vaporous kind of way, or in her more brooding, provoking and punk-ish attitude… A good example of both moods, would be ‘Let’s Dance Let’s Go’ for example, which lets really quite beautiful blue vocal drones stretch out underneath red-lined voice injections. We’re not sure what the japanese lyrics mean here, but we’d like to imagine some kind of uncomfortable stand off between the performer&activist and an ambient, yoga-type crowd that think the world will change if they sit down cross legged, eyes closed).

Either way, Phew’s music is full of heart, channelled via machines and microphones, purposely steering-clear from over-anxious, over-polished production sheen and far-away from mass-pleasing pop-arrangements, in favour of pure, undiluted feeling, via sound.

Vertigo KO is a special thing, if you like to delve into the weird & wonderful.
It makes full sense on vinyl, with the stylus picking up all sorts of ghosts that add to the all important feeling here.

As if the music wasn’t enough, this fine record here comes presented with a 20page zine designed by our very own Alex Digard aka Studio Tape-Echo, including photography from Masayuki Shioda and writing from both Disciples and Phew.
No excuses not to put away that phone for a while, and just sit and enjoy the experience.

Comes with DL code.
+ 20 page booklet zine.

Mastering: Stefan Betke
Photos: Masayuki Shioda
Sleevenotes: Selpic Sid, Phew
Design: Studio Tape-Echo
Video: Lisa Aoki

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